The Meningitis B Vaccine Can Help Prevent This Deadly Illness
Weve told you the scary stuff, now heres the part where we give you some reassuring news. First, any form of meningococcal diseaseincluding meningitis Bis relatively rare, and incidents have been on the decline in the last few decades. The CDC says that in 2017, there were about 350 total cases of meningococcal disease reported. Thats 0.11 cases per 100,000 people.
The other good news is that you can reduce your childs risk of getting meningitis B by making sure they get the meningitis B vaccine. The reason that we vaccinate against things is that they are severe diseases, even if they occur rarely, Adam J. Ratner, M.D., director of the division of Pediatric Infectious Disease at NYU Langone and associate professor in both the department of Pediatrics and department of Microbiology at NYU Langone, tells SELF.
The meningitis B vaccine introduces your body to a specific part of the bacteria cell, combined with whats called an adjuvantan extra material that helps boost the effectiveness of the immune responseso your body learns to produce antibodies that target that bacteria. Your body does not see the whole bacteria, and so it’s impossible to get the infection from the vaccine itself, Dr. Vyas explains. Theres more than one meningitis B vaccine available, but both require at least two doses for maximum effectiveness.
Trumenba Helps Protect Your Teen When They Need It Most56
In adolescents and young adults, the incidence of MenB peaks at age 19, so if your child is between 16 and 23, they may be at higher risk.5
TRUMENBA is the only vaccine tested against diverse MenB strains, including those found in meningitis outbreaks.1,4*
Why risk it? MenB is rare but has devastating consequences.3,7 Prep for a doctor’s appointment with a Doctor Discussion Guide found at the link below. Then, talk to your doctor about the importance of vaccinating your teen or young adult.
*TRUMENBA was tested against diverse MenB strains expressing factor H binding protein subfamilies A and B. Two-dose effectiveness against diverse strains has not been confirmed.1
Meningitis B Is A Rare But Very Serious Disease
As the Mayo Clinic explains, meningitis is inflammation of the membrane that surrounds your brain and spinal cord . According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , meningitis B is caused by the bacteria N. meningitidis. Illnesses caused by this bacteria are referred to broadly as meningococcal diseases.
The B in meningitis B refers to a serogroupa subtypeof N. meningitidis. The CDC notes that the five other serogroups that most commonly cause meningococcal disease are A, C, W, X, and Y.
The CDC explains that N. meningitidis already lives in the mouths and throats of about 10 percent of the population without causing any problems. It can be spread through spit and saliva, but is less contagious than viruses like the common cold or flu. It takes close, prolonged contact, e.g., kissing someone who is a meningitis B carrier, or being in the same room with them for a prolonged period of time while theyre coughing. Outbreaks are rare, but when they do occur, its often among people in cramped living conditions, such as army barracks or college dorms.
These are the main symptoms, as defined by the CDC, but this disease can often present in a more nuanced wayyou can read more about meningitis B symptoms here:
- A stiff neck
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Who Should Receive The Meningitis Immunization
Talk with your doctor about whether you or your children should receive either or both of the meningitis vaccinations. These vaccinations may require booster shots from time to time. Be sure to discuss the timing of booster doses with your doctor because missed boosters can reduce the effectiveness of the vaccination.
In general, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations include specific meningococcal vaccination information for babies, children and adults.
What Is Meningococcal Disease
Meningococcal disease is a serious illness caused by a bacterium. It can cause meningitis, which is an infection of the brain and spinal cord, and it can also cause blood infections. The infection can cause death or lifelong disability.
About 375 people get the disease each year, and about 10 to 15 out of 100 people infected with meningococcal disease die. Of those who survive, up to one out of five will have permanent disabilities, such as deafness, brain damage, loss of limbs, or seizures.
A person with meningococcal disease may become seriously ill very quickly. Antibiotics can treat meningococcal infections, but often cant be given soon enough to help.
Anyone can get meningococcal disease, but it is most common in infants less than 1 year of age. Teens are less likely to be infected than infants, but disease levels increase in adolescence starting around age 11, and peak around age 19 years.
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I Have Heard That There Is Another Menb Vaccine
Another MenB vaccine, called Trumenba, has recently been licenced for use in Europe and the UK. This vaccine has been developed by Pfizer and is licenced for use in adults and children over the age of 10. This vaccine is available through private providers.
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Who Needs To Get Vaccinated For Meningitis
Its especially important for you to keep all of your meningitis vaccinations up-to-date if you fall into a high-risk category for getting the disease. High-risk categories include:
- Certain Ages. Infants less than one-year-old and young adults between the ages of 16 and 21 are the most likely to develop meningitis. Its most important to have all boosters and available vaccinations at these ages.
- Crowded Settings. Large group settings like college campuses are where outbreaks of meningitis are the most common. Get your vaccines up-to-date before entering into these settings for extended periods of time.
- Certain underlying conditions. Some underlying medical conditions can increase your chance of getting meningitis. These include HIV and other conditions that weaken your immune system. Not having a spleen also places you at higher risk.
- Work that involves meningitis-causing agents. Microbiologists and any other researchers that regularly come into contact with the bacteria and viruses that cause meningitis are consistently at risk.
- Travel to certain areas. Some areas in the world like sub-Saharan Africa have higher rates of meningitis and the pathogens that cause it. Check with your doctor before traveling to new parts of the world.
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When Are Meningococcal Vaccines Given
Vaccination with MenACWY is recommended:
- when kids are 11 or 12 years old, with a booster given at age 16
- for teens 1318 years old who haven’t been vaccinated yet
Those who have their first dose between the ages of 1315 should get a booster dose between the ages of 1618. Teens who get their first dose after age 16 won’t need a booster dose.
Kids and teens who are at higher risk for meningococcal disease need the full series of MenACWY vaccines, even if they’re younger than 11 years old. This includes kids who:
- live in or travel to countries where the disease is common
- are present during an outbreak of the disease
- have some kinds of immune disorders. If the immune disorders are chronic, these kids also need a booster dose a few years later, depending on their age at the first dose.
The sequence and dosage depends on the child’s age, medical condition, and vaccine brand. Some types of meningococcal vaccines can be given as early as 8 weeks of age.
Kids 10 years and older with these risk factors also should get the MenB vaccine. They’ll need 2 or 3 doses depending on the brand. They might need more booster doses as long as the risk factor remains.
For those without risk factors, the decision to receive the MenB vaccine should be made together by teens, their parents, and the doctor. For them, the preferred age range is 1618 years. Usually, they need 2 doses.
When To Get Vaccinations Against Viral Causes Of Meningitis
Unfortunately, there isnt a vaccine for the most common cause of viral meningitis called non-polio enteroviruses. In rare cases, other kinds of viral infections can lead to meningitis. These viral infections have vaccines that are available in the U.S. They include:
The vaccinations for these infections all have their own schedule for when you should get them the most frequent being your yearly flu shot. Measles and mumps vaccinations are first completed around the age of six then need to be updated in adolescence and adulthood. Talk to your doctor to make sure that youre up-to-date with your vaccinations.
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Who Should Get The Meningococcal Vaccine
- This vaccine is provided free to infants as part of their routine immunizations. The vaccine is given as a series of two doses. The first is given at 2 months of age, and the second at 12 months.
- This vaccine is also free for people:
- Born before 2002, who are 24 years of age and under who did not get a dose of vaccine on or after their 10th birthday.
- Who have been in close contact with someone with meningococcal type C disease.
Persons With Inadequate Immunization Records
Children and adults lacking adequate documentation of immunization should be considered unimmunized and started on an immunization schedule appropriate for their age and risk factors. Conjugate meningococcal vaccine, as appropriate for age, may be given regardless of possible previous receipt of the vaccine, as adverse events associated with repeated immunization have not been demonstrated. Refer to Immunization of persons with inadequate immunization records in Part 3 for additional general information.
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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Meningococcal Vaccines
Some of the most common side effects are swelling, redness, and pain at the site of the injection, along with headache, fever, or tiredness. Serious problems, such as allergic reactions, are rare.
The meningococcal vaccines contains only a small piece of the germ, so it can’t cause meningococcal disease.
Types Of Meningococcal Vaccines
The first category of vaccine is called the meningococcal conjugate vaccines or MenACWY vaccines. This vaccine protects against four strains of bacteria that fall into serogroups A, C, W, and Y.
Serogroups are closely related groups of bacteria that all present the same calling cards to the immune system. The MenACWY vaccine protects against meningitis-causing bacteria that present with the A, C, W, or Y calling cards.
Three types of MenACWY vaccines are currently available:
The second category of meningococcal vaccines protects against bacteria that fall into serogroup B. These are called MenB vaccines and are sold under the brand names Bexsero and Trumenba.
The MenB vaccine is fairly new. The FDA approved Trumenba in 2014. Bexsero was approved in 2015. MenB vaccine is not currently part of the U.S. standard childhood vaccine immunization schedule. But in other countries, like the United Kingdom, Bexsero is routinely given during infancy.
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What Are The Risks From Meningococcal Vaccine
Most people have mild side effects from the vaccine, such as redness or pain where the shot was given. A vaccine, like any medicine, may cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. This risk is extremely small. Getting the meningococcal vaccine is much safer than getting the disease.
You can learn more on the Vaccine Information Statements for meningococcal ACWY and meningococcal B.
Who Needs A Meningococcal Vaccine
The CDC recommends a meningococcal vaccine for:
- All children ages 11-18 or certain younger high-risk children
- Anyone who has been exposed to meningitis during an outbreak
- Anyone traveling to or living where meningitis is common, such as in sub-Saharan Africa
- Military recruits
- People with certain immune system disorders or a damaged or missing spleen
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What Happens At The Appointment
Youll be asked a few questions when you arrive to make sure the service is suitable for you or your child. If it is, two vaccinations will be given. These will be a minimum of four weeks apart.
The injections at Boots are given in the upper arm. Its helpful for you or your child to wear short sleeves or loose sleeves that can be rolled up. Youll be asked to stay behind for five minutes after each injection to make sure there are no immediate reactions to the vaccination.
Schedule For Children Who Are More Likely To Get Meningitis
Younger kids will need a vaccine if they’re at a greater risk of getting meningitis because they:
- Have complement component deficiency, a rare immune system disease
- Have spleen damage or had their spleen removed
- Live in an area that had a meningitis outbreak
- Take drugs that affect their immune system
- Travel to a country where meningitis is common
For these cases, doctors strongly recommend MenACWY for kids ages 2 months to 10 years. The number of doses and boosters your child needs depends on their health, age, and how long they stay at risk for the disease. For example, a child with spleen damage will be at risk longer than someone who travels for a week to a country where meningitis is common. Check with your doctor to find out what your child needs.
Doctors also recommend that kids ages 10 and older with these risks get the standard doses of MenB.
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Which Meningococcal Vaccines Are Available
In the U.S., three meningococcal vaccines are available:
- Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine , sold as Menomune
- Meningococcal conjugate vaccine , sold as Menactra, MenHibrix, and Menveo.
- Serogroup B meningococcal vaccine, sold asTrumenba and Bexsero.
MPSV4 and MCV4 can prevent four types of meningococcal disease, which make up about 70% of the cases in the U.S.
The MenB vaccines prevent the Meningococcal B strain.
MCV4 is preferred for people age 55 and younger. The recommendation for teens is one dose at age 11 and one dose at age 16. The doctor or nurse injects one dose into the muscle. If MCV4 is not available, you can use MPSV4. The doctor or nurse injects one dose beneath the skin.
MPSV4 is the only meningococcal vaccine approved for use in people over 55.
The MenB vaccines are recommended for ages 10-24, by the CDC for high risk patients, but can also be used in older adults. Trumenba is administered in three doses while Bexsero requires two doses.
When’s My Baby Going To Be Immunised
Your baby will be offered the MenB vaccine at 8 weeks, 16 weeks and a booster dose at 12 to 13 months. Your local NHS Health Board will contact you to let you know about their arrangements for your baby’s routine childhood immunisations.
Most practices and health centres run special immunisation baby clinics. If you cant get to the clinic, contact the practice or health centre to make another appointment.
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Requesting An Exemption For Medical Reasons Or Reasons Of Conscience
Students are encouraged to receive the meningitis vaccination because of the higher prevalence of this serious infection in adolescents and young adults. However, a student or the parent or guardian of a student may decline the meningitis vaccination for medical reasons, or for reasons of conscience.
Do not submit any exemption document to Undergraduate Admissions or the Student Health Center.
Texas State uses Magnus Health SMR for managing compliance with the meningitis requirement. Students subject to the bacterial meningitis requirement will receive an email from Magnus Health SMR with instructions. Students will be charged $10 by Magnus Health SMR for processing all exemption documents and verifying compliance with the requirement.
An exemption to the vaccination requirement may be requested by providing one of the following documents:
Meningococcal Vaccine: Canadian Immunization Guide
For health professionals
Latest partial content update :
: The chapter has been updated to align with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization Statement : The Use of Bivalent Factor H Binding Protein Meningococcal Serogroup B Vaccine for the Prevention of Meningococcal B Disease.
MenB-fHBP vaccine may be considered as an option for use in individuals 10 years of age and older in situations when a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine should be offered:
MenB-fHBP vaccine may be considered as an option for individuals 1025 years of age who are not at higher risk of meningococcal disease than the general population, but who wish to reduce their risk of invasive serogroup B meningococcal disease.
Last complete chapter revision: May 2015
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Meningococcal Disease Is A Medical Emergency:
Understanding the characteristic signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease is critical and possibly lifesaving, because meningococcal disease can cause serious illness and rapidly progress to death if untreated.
Meningococcal disease is difficult to detect because it can be mistaken for other conditions. A person may have flu-like symptoms for a few days before experiencing a rapid progression to severe meningococcal disease.
Meningococcal disease is contagious. If you experience symptoms, or you may have been exposed, immediately, day or night, at 734-764-8320 and request urgent Nurse Advice, or go to an emergency room. Also see Emergency/After Hours